In the December 10th press conference where Rep. Mark Harmsworth and Sen. Andy Hill presented their bill to remove tolling, Sen. Hill commented on the grossly underestimated volume of sales of FlexPass transponders:
“They [WSDOT] missed it by half? In any private company there would be people fired for that. The level of incompetence there and the fact that there have been no major changes in DOT?”
WSDOT was surprised at the fact they have already sold over 160,000 FlexPasses which is double what they expected to sell at this point. At a cost of $15/unit, that translates into $2.4M spent on FlexPass transponders by us, the public, in just the first 2 months of operation and sales continue to be strong. Not everyone had to pay for their transponder. People who could prove they are frequent carpool drivers could get a free pass, but those free passes had to be paid for by someone which ultimately the cost comes back to us, the taxpayers.
This is $2.4M spent by taxpayers that provides no real value. It just enables us to travel in the ETL for free when we have a carpool, like we did before, when it was a simple carpool lane.
So what productive benefit do we gain by spending that $2.4M? We all have a little plastic thing attached to our windshields and the right to drive in the left lane without paying. Oh, wait, not so fast. You must also open an account with GoodToGo! and deposit a minimum of $30. So that is another $4.8M put into the GoodToGo’s bank account which they will collect interest on your money. This adds up to costing drivers $7,200,000 to have the authority to drive without “paying a toll”. And sales continue as much as possible, although many places are selling out. Ultimately everyone will need one because who doesn’t have a passenger at some point? It’s OK. You’re going to need one sooner or later anyway even if you don’t drive I-405. They will soon have the same requirement on I-5 and I-90 and SR167 and SR509.